Headlines from the Caspian: April 4, 2022
Author: Caspian Policy Center
Apr 4, 2022
Energy and Economy
Top Official Says Kazakhstan Won't Help Russia Evade Western Sanctions
Kazakhstan will not help Russia to evade Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, said Timur Suleimenov, the deputy chief of the Kazakhstani presidential office. Kazakhstan is one of Russia’s largest trading partners, and Suleimanov committed that Kazakhstan would continue to invest in and attract investment from Russia.
Azerbaijan and Italy Discuss Expansion of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov and Italy’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Luigi Di Maio met at a recent conference in Italy focused on strengthening the two country’s strategic partnership. Within this context, the ministers discussed the expansion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Azerbaijan’s potential to begin transporting “green” hydrogen exports. Di Maio expressed his support for expanding the pipeline, noting his appreciation for the role TAP has played in strengthening Italy-Azerbaijan relations and in securing Italy’s position in the European gas market.
Kazakhstan Announces New Procurement Rules for Sovereign Wealth Fund
Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s $69 billion sovereign wealth fund announced new procurement rules in a bid to improve transparency and overcome a culture of cronyism which prevailed during the years of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s leadership. The new rules, instituted in the wake of the January unrest in Kazakhstan, is another attempt to cut out Nazarbayev-allied elites.
Kyrgyzstan and Centerra Reach an Agreement on the Kumtor Gold Mine
President Sadyr Japarov announced that an agreement had been reached with the Canadian mining company Centerra and that Kyrgyzstan was now 100 percent in control of the Kumtor Gold Mine. Should the agreement hold, this marks the resolution of a long dispute between Kyrgyzstan’s government and the Canadian mining company over the mine.
Uzbekistan Looks to Develop Renewable Energy Sources
Spokeswoman of the Uzbek Ministry of Energy Elmira Bekmurodova announced the development of a new program to expand the use of renewable energy sources in Uzbekistan. According to this plan, Uzbekistan will look to increase the share of renewable energy sources to 25 percent of the total energy balance by 2026.
Politics and Security
Armenian and Azerbaijani Leaders to Meet this Week in Brussels
On April 6, leaders from Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel to begin discussions on a Nagorno-Karabakh peace treaty. Tensions over the region have escalated in recent weeks, threatening the Russia-brokered 2020 ceasefire agreement.
So Called South Ossetian Leader Says Breakaway Georgian Region Seeks Vote To Join Russia
So called president of South Ossetia, a separatist republic in Georgia, Anatoly Bibilov, announced in an interview that he had begun consultations about the annexation of South Ossetia into the Russian Federation. Georgia condemned talk of annexation and re-iterated its position that occupied territories must be returned to Georgian control.
Baku Nightclub Blask Kills 1 and Injures 31
An explosion caused by a gas leak hit a nightclub in Baku killing one person and injuring 31 others. The gas provider Azerigas said the explosion was caused by a leaky gas canister. Officials said one person was killed by the explosion and 31 people suffered various injuries. Health Ministry spokesman Parviz Abubekirov said that 24 people had been hospitalized, most of them with burns.
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan Hold Border Demarcation Talks
March 28-April 2 Uzbek and Tajik officials met in Bokhtar, Tajikistan to discuss the ongoing issue of border demarcation. As a result of the talks, it was announced that the two parties had agreed on 1,319km of the 1,326km border. A protocol was signed following the meeting.
Source: AKI Press
The 3rd meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring Countries Issues a Joint Statement
At a meeting chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tunxi, Anhui Province, foreign ministers from Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan joined to discuss regional issues surrounding Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Wang promoted “the concept of a community with a shared future” in envisioning future cooperation.
Source: Asia Plus TJ